Bad habits... HELP!
 
 

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Bad habits... HELP!

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    01-05-2014, 02:32 AM
  #1
Foal
Unhappy Bad habits... HELP!

I've recently switched barns and my new instructor has picked up on a few of my bad habits. I ride English.

1) My legs flap a little when I'm not focussing really hard, how can I make my legs stay still?

2) My right leg gets too far back, and I have real trouble making it stay more forward. How can I do this?

3) I have trouble transitioning to the canter sometimes. I've been told the school horses respond to the light seat but I can't seem to get it. Help me? Also I start to constantly kick (flapping) which is a bad habit that needs to be broken.

4) How do I wrap my leg around the horse's barrel? I've been told to apply pressure to the barrel, but I can't get it!

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I really want to get better at riding and I just find myself always making the same mistakes.
     
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    01-05-2014, 04:23 AM
  #2
Super Moderator
Could you. Post a video? How long did you say you've been riding?
     
    01-05-2014, 07:45 AM
  #3
Foal
Sorry I don't have any advice but I have the same leg flapping habit. I don't usually even realise I'm doing it until my instructor points it out then I have to concentrate really hard on not doing it so I shall be very interested to read any advice given!
KarmaLove likes this.
     
    01-05-2014, 09:16 AM
  #4
Yearling
I'm a beginner, but I've dealt with all those issues these ways under the guidance of my well-qualified instructor:

For flapping legs, I focus on keeping light contact with the inside of my knees on the pads (I ride English, but I assume you can do the same in Western even without pads there). When I focus on the knees, the legs just kind of follow along and stop banging around. Also I make sure I'm pressing down with the heels a bit which also helps. If you forget the heel part, you'll lose a stirrup easy and then holy flapping legs. Flopping body is more like it.

For the foot too far back, it could be happening because you're off center (not balanced on both butt bones equally) and/or leaning your torso forward. Try to focus on leaning back a bit and centering your weight over both butt bones, and your legs should move forward to compensate for the new balance. When nervous or unsure, it's normal to move into fetal position (leaning forward) which throws the leg position off.

When you ask for the canter, were are your heels/legs and what do your reins look like? Outside heel (one closest to rail) should be touching just behind the girth strap, inside leg should be on the girth, the outside rein should be shorter than the inside rein. At least, that's how I was taught (English)! Now the horse can feel when I start moving things around (rein on outside shortening, crop to inside, etc.) and he takes off at a simple touch behind the girth. I actually have to hold him back from taking off too early; my seat is way too obvious at communicating sometimes.

In the beginning, it took more heel and even a crop whack or two to start him going and to keep him going. Now, not so much. Every once in a while he will test me and just make sure I still mean it when I say "go and keep going". :) haha silly horse.

Apply pressure to the barrel, to me, means squeezing with the calves, heels in. You don't literally wrap your legs around the barrel of the horse. Or maybe other people do, but I don't. :) I guess if you had really long legs it might feel like that's what you're doing, but my legs are pretty short.

I think the method of getting a horse to move forward is just like any of those other training methods ... the ones that say you first ask politely, then more firmly, then even more so, and then you insist. Give the horse a "good deal" as Buck Brannaman says and then if he doesn't take your good deal, show him it's not optional with more pressure.

So, you first squeeze with calves (asking politely, the "good deal") and maybe a verbal cue, then tap heels in regular rhythm (asking more firmly), kicking heels in rhythm (asking even more firmly) and last, a whack on the rump with the crop (insisting). You stop any of these as soon as you get what you asked for (aka "release of pressure"); that way, he knows he did what you wanted and learns that this is the signal for forward movement.

Eventually, after living through this escalation of pressure a few times, your horse should respond with just a little squeeze or even just a slight shift in your seat instead of needing all that insisting stuff from you.

But in the beginning, until he gets to know your signals, it might take a lot of insisting to start. Just be consistent and don't get frustrated if he doesn't get it for a while. And never let the horse decide when you go and when you stop. Do it over and over until they get it right.
     
    01-05-2014, 05:35 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Could you. Post a video? How long did you say you've been riding?
I've been riding for 7 and a half years, and I guess my previous instructors never picked up on my mistakes, and now they're habits I can't get rid of.

In the clip, it's of both legs flapping and at the end you can see that my right leg is way far back. My instructor also tells me I drive forward with my seat too much when I'm trying to pick up the canter, or when I'm in the canter. I need a light seat.

     
    01-05-2014, 05:38 PM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecasey    
I'm a beginner, but I've dealt with all those issues these ways under the guidance of my well-qualified instructor:

For flapping legs, I focus on keeping light contact with the inside of my knees on the pads (I ride English, but I assume you can do the same in Western even without pads there). When I focus on the knees, the legs just kind of follow along and stop banging around. Also I make sure I'm pressing down with the heels a bit which also helps. If you forget the heel part, you'll lose a stirrup easy and then holy flapping legs. Flopping body is more like it.

For the foot too far back, it could be happening because you're off center (not balanced on both butt bones equally) and/or leaning your torso forward. Try to focus on leaning back a bit and centering your weight over both butt bones, and your legs should move forward to compensate for the new balance. When nervous or unsure, it's normal to move into fetal position (leaning forward) which throws the leg position off.

When you ask for the canter, were are your heels/legs and what do your reins look like? Outside heel (one closest to rail) should be touching just behind the girth strap, inside leg should be on the girth, the outside rein should be shorter than the inside rein. At least, that's how I was taught (English)! Now the horse can feel when I start moving things around (rein on outside shortening, crop to inside, etc.) and he takes off at a simple touch behind the girth. I actually have to hold him back from taking off too early; my seat is way too obvious at communicating sometimes.

In the beginning, it took more heel and even a crop whack or two to start him going and to keep him going. Now, not so much. Every once in a while he will test me and just make sure I still mean it when I say "go and keep going". :) haha silly horse.

Apply pressure to the barrel, to me, means squeezing with the calves, heels in. You don't literally wrap your legs around the barrel of the horse. Or maybe other people do, but I don't. :) I guess if you had really long legs it might feel like that's what you're doing, but my legs are pretty short.

I think the method of getting a horse to move forward is just like any of those other training methods ... the ones that say you first ask politely, then more firmly, then even more so, and then you insist. Give the horse a "good deal" as Buck Brannaman says and then if he doesn't take your good deal, show him it's not optional with more pressure.

So, you first squeeze with calves (asking politely, the "good deal") and maybe a verbal cue, then tap heels in regular rhythm (asking more firmly), kicking heels in rhythm (asking even more firmly) and last, a whack on the rump with the crop (insisting). You stop any of these as soon as you get what you asked for (aka "release of pressure"); that way, he knows he did what you wanted and learns that this is the signal for forward movement.

Eventually, after living through this escalation of pressure a few times, your horse should respond with just a little squeeze or even just a slight shift in your seat instead of needing all that insisting stuff from you.

But in the beginning, until he gets to know your signals, it might take a lot of insisting to start. Just be consistent and don't get frustrated if he doesn't get it for a while. And never let the horse decide when you go and when you stop. Do it over and over until they get it right.
Thanks so much. Also how can I hold a light seat?
     
    01-05-2014, 08:18 PM
  #7
Trained
I rarely ride in an English saddle, although my Australian-style saddle was close, so take this with a big cup of FWIW:

Freeze your video at 6 seconds:



BTW - I'll delete this screen capture in a couple of weeks. Now I'll post some stuff written by Harry Chamberlin. Maybe it will help. Clicking on the picture will enlarge it to make it easier to read:



Also this:



Try to avoid gripping with the knee. You want the weight to flow uninterrupted past the knee and into the heel. My tendency was to squeeze with my knees, and even a small squeeze can create a pivot point that makes the lower leg insecure and forces the lower leg back.

If the advice helps, his book has been reprinted, and is available at Amazon:

Http://www.amazon.com/Riding-Schooling-Horses-Harry-Chamberlin/dp/1163173290/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384010134&sr=8-1&keywords=riding+and+schooling+horses
     
    01-06-2014, 09:27 PM
  #8
Foal
For the leg flapping you need to have more of grip on your calves rather than your knee because when you grip the saddle with your knee it will make your legs wiggle around a lot. Make sure that you feel a grip on the calves and my trainer said that the half chaps I wear everytime I ride should begin to mark up around my calves because that's wear I was told to grip.

And for the light seat you just need to hold more of your body weight in your ankles and let your upper body lean forward more this will create a lighter seat.

Best of luck hope this helps :)
     
    01-06-2014, 09:43 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
I rarely ride in an English saddle, although my Australian-style saddle was close, so take this with a big cup of FWIW:

Freeze your video at 6 seconds:



BTW - I'll delete this screen capture in a couple of weeks. Now I'll post some stuff written by Harry Chamberlin. Maybe it will help. Clicking on the picture will enlarge it to make it easier to read:



Also this:



Try to avoid gripping with the knee. You want the weight to flow uninterrupted past the knee and into the heel. My tendency was to squeeze with my knees, and even a small squeeze can create a pivot point that makes the lower leg insecure and forces the lower leg back.

If the advice helps, his book has been reprinted, and is available at Amazon:

Riding And Schooling Horses: Harry D. Chamberlin, John Cudahy, Edwin M. Sumner: 9781163173299: Amazon.com: Books
This was very helpful. I think I'm going to order the book!
     
    01-06-2014, 09:44 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by eventrider    
For the leg flapping you need to have more of grip on your calves rather than your knee because when you grip the saddle with your knee it will make your legs wiggle around a lot. Make sure that you feel a grip on the calves and my trainer said that the half chaps I wear everytime I ride should begin to mark up around my calves because that's wear I was told to grip.

And for the light seat you just need to hold more of your body weight in your ankles and let your upper body lean forward more this will create a lighter seat.

Best of luck hope this helps :)
Thank you. My next lesson is this Saturday, I'll make sure to use your advice! I'll let you all know how it goes. :)
     

Tags
advice please, bad habits, leg aids, leg pressure, new barn

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